The Haining vision
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THE full restoration and transformation of The Haining could take five years to achieve, but when completed, it will be "a fantastic must-see visitor attraction".
The timescale for the vision of the late Andrew Nimmo-Smith to be realised was estimated this week by Susan Edington, the Galashiels-based lawyer who is an executor of his estate and a member of the Haining Charitable Trust (HCT).
And the optimistic description of what the Selkirk mansion and grounds will become came from Vicky Davidson, Scottish Borders Council's executive member for economic development.
Councillor Davidson was one of around 200 members of the public who attended Saturday's open day at the Palladian-style mansion, which was bequeathed to the people of Selkirkshire in the will of Mr Nimmo-Smith, who died last year.
They were given guided tours of the house and grounds by representatives of the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust and Lee Boyd, the Edinburgh architects who specialise in listed building restorations.
And they heard that an impressive blueprint, informed by an extensive public consultation which the HCT began at last year's Scott's Selkirk celebrations, had been prepared.
Visitors were also told of plans to create artisan studios and business units for rent in the old coachhouse buildings; a high-class restaurant; eco-friendly luxury treehouse accommodation for visitors in the grounds; a room dedicated to the history of the Haining; and an adventure playground.
But the highlight will be the careful restoration of the mansion to accommodate touring exhibitions by the National Art Gallery for Scotland, with whom Mrs Edington has been in detailed discussions.
She cautioned that the proposals were "aspirational" and subject to funding, but that the work would be phased to ensure income streams were established.
Thus, the rentable business units and studios will be in the first phase and are already the subject of a Euro funding bid. With income established, the house restoration can begin and the other projects could progress.